Latest Laois News: Local TD holds Government to account on commitments made to School Secretaries
“School secretaries rightfully demand action on government commitments,” Carol Nolan
Independent TD for Laois/Offaly Carol Nolan has described the governments inaction on a commitment that it extended to school secretaries last year as woefully inadequate and a betrayal of dedicated and hardworking staff.
Deputy Nolan was speaking as school secretaries who are members of the public service union Forsa, prepare to stage a one-day strike in Dublin on Wednesday 15th September, the same day as the Dáil returns from its Summer recess:
“The issues at the heart of this dispute have been in place for decades and have given rise to the absurd situation where school secretaries who are not directly paid by the Department of Education are receiving salaries of about €12,500, while secretaries, who are paid directly by the Department earn between €24,000 – €44,711.
A 1.5% pay rise was suggested by the Department last December in a bid to avoid industrial action.
I said at that the time that this was a demeaning and provocative offer that would only further entrench existing pay inequality that the secretaries are experiencing. The department had also decided at that time to leave the unequal work conditions around pension and holiday entitlements in place.
That was never going to be acceptable.
Thankfully, the secretaries’ persistence and their commitment to be treated fairly resulted in a Government commitment to standardise pay and conditions of school secretaries.
Unfortunately, however, there has been no action on the delivery of this commitment. This has meant that school secretaries continue to earn just €12,500 a year, with irregular short-term contracts.
As Forsa has already noted, It is almost a year since Tánaiste Leo Varadkar spoke on these matter in Dáil Éireann. At that time, he gave a commitment to end the four-decade system of pay inequality. But like so much else, it appears to have been nothing but empty rhetoric.
That must change. These secretaries deserve to be treated fairly and I will stand behind them until that is achieved,” concluded Deputy Nolan.